Wat Way Di is a 23-year-old woman living in a refugee camp in Thailand with some extended family members. She was born in Burma to a family of three siblings and her father. Wat Way Di primarily relies on the food and healthcare provided by the refugee camp.
Three years ago, Wat Way Di started feeling fatigue, chest pain, and dizziness. She was unable to walk far without becoming short of breath. At times she had trouble sleeping and eating. She had to stop her schooling due to her symptoms, and has been living with her relatives in the camp. She is unable to work and at times has difficulty doing basic chores around the house, like cooking dinner. She also is unable to carry water in the camp, which is vital for their water supply. She returned to Burma last year to become a midwife, but was unable to complete her classes, and is now unemployed.
Wat Way Di likes to draw and, when possible, she draws different pictures.
She went to the camp’s clinic, and was referred to a local hospital for further evaluation. She was then found with non-rheumatic mitral stenosis, and was recommended for cardiac surgery. Mitral stenosis is when the mitral valve of the heart becomes narrow and dysfunctional, blocking blood flow into the main pumping chamber. Wat Way Di could not afford the procedure, and since then she has been on prescription medication. She currently treks to the hospital every two months to refill her prescriptions.
Two years ago, Wat Way Di tried seeking treatment for her symptoms in Burma while visiting her family, but after some imaging testing she was sent home without receiving any treatment. Wat Way Di explains that it is difficult for her family to access healthcare in Burma because they must have payment in full at the time of treatment.
For $1,500, Wat Way Di can have the surgery she needs. After she fully recovers, Wat Way Di anticipates being well enough to work as a midwife.
“I hope that once I receive surgery I can return to my village in Burma, become a midwife, and take care of women and children,” Wat Way Di says. “I believe that I can support my family through my work as a midwife.”